How Much Does it Cost to Erect a Metal Building?
Building a barn, garage, shed, or commercial unit requires many decisions and a lot of planning, starting with the size and material you’re planning for. You may be uncertain if you should go with a prefabricated unit or build your own, or you may wonder if wood or metal would be more cost-effective.
It typically costs $10-$28 per square foot to erect a metal building. Your total cost may increase based on whether it’s a prefab, residential or commercial use, insulation, windows, electrical work, and other customizations. Generally, the price per foot drops as the size increases.
If you’re using a prefabricated building kit to erect a metal building, you should expect your costs to be lower than building the structure from scratch. In addition, there are countless factors that will influence the project’s total price tag, including the foundation, the type of frame, type of insulation, roofing, windows, and labor, just to name a few.
According to Home Advisor, the average metal home cost is $150,000. However, that is for a residential unit including plumbing, sewer, HVAC, and all the other things that are necessary for a home. You should expect to pay around $9,000 for a simple metal garage, while a larger building (about twice the size of a garage) would be around $12,000. However, you should remember that these cost estimates don’t include the customizations you may be looking for.
How Much Does it Cost to Erect a Metal Building?
Cost Range of Metal Buildings by Size
|Size/Type of Building||Estimated Minimum||Estimated Maximum|
|Small steel building||$4,000||$10,000|
|Metal garage (multi-car workshop)||$19,000||$30,000|
|Metal airplane hangar||$40,000||$80,000|
|Commercial building (insulated)||$74,000||$120,000 (and up)|
Source: The Cost Guys
Cost to Erect a 30×60 Metal Building
According to Buildings Guide, a good estimate for a 30×60 metal building is $9.61 per square foot, or $17,300. This is for the cost of the building itself, not including delivery, laying a foundation, or any other labor and construction costs.
Average Cost for 30×60 Metal Building Kit
|Minimum Base Cost||Max Base Cost||Insulated|
|$15,500||$21,000||$17,840 - $23,500|
If you opt for a prefabricated building kit, the costs can be higher or lower depending on the features that you select. For a fairly standard 30×60 metal building kit, the cost will be around $21,000. This base figure would typically include a large garage-style opening (door not included), a normal entry door, no windows, and no insulation.
Cost to Erect a 40×60 Metal Building
40×60 is a popular size for a metal building because it could be used for either residential or commercial settings. The cost to erect a building of this size fluctuates based on the price of steel, but on average, a 40×60 metal building costs anywhere from $7.46 per square foot to $12.70 per square foot.
Average Cost for 40×60 Metal Building
|Min. per Sq. Ft.||Max per Sq. Ft.||Minimum Total||Maximum Total|
A 40×60 metal building typically includes two roll-up doors along with a standard walk-through entry door. Some designs may include a window or other features that can increase the cost.
Keep in mind that the cost of steel can fluctuate seasonally, as well. So, the cost for your project in July may be much different than doing the same project in December. Remember that peak building season is during the spring and summer months, while business typically slows down during the winter months.
Cost to Erect a 50×100 Metal Building
A 50×100 metal building is 5,000 square feet, so it’s a large footprint. The good thing about larger buildings is that the price per square foot typically starts to drop with the increase in size.
The average cost for a basic metal structure of this size ranges from around $7.48 per square foot to $9.75 per square foot.
Average Cost for a 50×100 Metal Building
For a building that’s “turnkey ready,” the cost may go up to well over $50,000, but the fluctuations will depend primarily on the features and customizations that are added. For example, adding finishes like trim, siding, windows, and doors will usually increase the total cost by around 15%.
Cost to Erect an 80×100 Metal Building
An 8,000 square foot metal building should cost around $59,800, or $7.48 per square foot. This cost could go up significantly, depending on the price of steel and other construction-related expenses.
A building of this size will be most impacted by the fluctuations in materials costs and the amount of steel needed for the project. You should plan to add another 5-10% for delivery fees, 15% for windows and doors, and $5 per square foot for pouring a foundation.
The building design can also impact the overall cost. For example, arch buildings (known as Quonset) typically cost less than straight-wall buildings. According to Buildings Guide, the materials for Quonset buildings are $2-$3 less per square foot than straight-wall buildings.
This could be a helpful consideration with an 80×100 metal building where the materials costs will be high just based on the sheer size of the structure. A savings of $2-$3 per square foot could amount to tens of thousands of dollars for a project of this size.
Cost of Constructing a Metal Building
There are many different factors and considerations that will determine the actual cost to construct a metal building. Let’s take a look at a breakdown of the different components that may increase or decrease your actual spending. Keep in mind that these expenses assume that you already own the land that you’re building on.
Building Permits ($1300)
Even if you’re erecting a metal shed in your own backyard, you may still need to acquire permits. The cost of the permit will vary depending on the size and type of the structure, how many contractors will be working in it, what other foundation work might be needed, and so on.
The national average for a building permit is around $1300, but the actual range varies significantly. However, you should expect to pay at least $150 for a basic permit. Check with your local permitting office to find out exactly what permits you’ll need and how much they cost.
Pre-Construction Work ($2500)
Before you begin erecting a metal building, you need to ensure that you will have a solid foundation. This starts well before the first pour of concrete.
You should always perform a survey before beginning any construction project. Professional surveyors will check the grade and make sure the ground is level and they will also look at any property lines and mark accurate boundaries for the foundation’s footprint.
According to Home Advisor, the average cost for a land survey is $504. You should expect this cost to be somewhere between $346-$670 depending on the property’s location, size, history, etc.
Once you’ve surveyed the land and planned for the construction plot, the area may need to be cleared and excavated. The extent of the excavation and other prep will depend on the land and the type of foundation that you select.
According to Fixr, the average cost to clear one acre of land is around $2,000. Your actual cost may be less than this if there isn’t much vegetation to remove, or it may be more if the slope is more severe.
Building a Foundation
When you’re ready to break ground on the project, contractors will dig out the area for the foundation of your metal building. This will be in the area marked by the surveyor.
For a metal building, you can use either a slab foundation, a curb foundation, a floating slab, or a pier. A floating slab is very common for these kinds of construction projects. The national average is around $5 per square foot for a standard concrete slab.
According to Buildings Guide, a slab foundation is a concrete poured between 3 ½” – 5 ½” and serves as the base for the building and the floor of the building as well. A curb foundation is where only the perimeter is reinforced with concrete.
The floating slab is very popular, and it includes a curb foundation with footings poured separately from the slab poured inside the curb. This is a good choice if the ground is level, as it will reduce settling and cracks in the concrete.
If your metal building is a small storage shed or workshop, you may consider a pier foundation, where the building rests on individual piers that act as footing. They’re typically set in concrete under the ground. You should consult a professional to determine if this type of foundation is appropriate for your project.
According to Home Guide, foundations cost anywhere from $5.40 to $8.20 per square foot, depending on thickness.
Labor Cost – Concrete Slab
|Per Square Foot (Low)||$2.52|
|Per Square Foot (High)||$2.60|
The cost of materials will depend on the size and dimensions of the building, as well as the environmental conditions of the area. For example, constructing a steel building in areas where there is a lot of wind, snow, or seismic activity will require a stronger building (i.e., more steel) than in areas where these environmental elements are not a concern.
Materials for an average-sized steel building cost anywhere from $7 per square foot to $10 per square foot just for the frame and shell of the building. You will also need to consider the costs of doors, windows, hardware, electrical, insulation, and concrete work.
Approximate Cost of Materials for Metal Buildings
|Building Size||Square Footage||Materials Cost Range|
|30x40||1,200||$8,400 - $12,000|
|30x60||1,800||$12,600 - $18,000|
|50x50||2,400||$16,800 - $24,000|
|50x50||2,500||$17,500 - $25,000|
|50x80||4,000||$28,000 - $40,000|
|50x100||5,000||$35,000 - $50,000|
|60x100||6,000||$42,000 - $60,000|
|80x100||8,000||$56,000 - $80,000|
|100x100||10,000||$70,000 - $100,000|
Labor Cost for Erecting a Metal Building
The labor costs for erecting a metal building are typically between $4-$5 per square foot, depending on the size and scope of the project. Of course, the total cost will go up dramatically when you include other professionals to run electricity, plumbing, roofing, insulation, and so on.
The cost for erecting a metal building will depend primarily on the size of the structure and whether it’s a prefabricated build kit being assembled or if the build is being completed from scratch. In addition, there are many other components besides just the frame and skeleton of the building that add labor costs to the overall project.
To erect a metal building, you should plan on paying between $6-$10 per square foot. This is just to raise the building and doesn’t include any finishes. The complexity of the design is a big factor in the cost, which is usually associated with the building’s intended use.
For example, a standard garage for private use would typically cost much less than a metal office building that has multiple rooms and a more complicated design.
Average Cost to Erect a Metal Building (Non-Prefab)
|Price Per Sq. Ft. (Low)||$3|
|Price Per Sq. Ft. (Mid)||$6|
|Price Per Sq. Ft. (High)||$10|
Some people choose to purchase a prefabricated kit, and most retailers offer installation services at a price. According to one steel building kit manufacturer, erection crews typically charge between $3.50-$4.00 per square foot to erect their steel buildings. Their price includes insulation and trim, which not all crews will offer.
Choosing a prefab kit is often a more affordable option because these buildings can be erected two-thirds of the time compared to using other construction methods. The overall cost and labor costs can change based on the building’s shape. For example, some people opt for a Quonset hut or arch building. These structures have arched roofs and are even stronger than straight-walled buildings because of their shape.
The base building of the arch design is usually a little less expensive than straight-wall buildings, and the labor cost should be comparable.
Erecting a metal building, whether from a prefab kit or other construction methods, will likely require labor for operating heavy equipment. A forklift and scissor lift are the most common pieces of equipment required for moving the large and heavy materials for this project.
To rent a forklift with an operator, costs, on average, around $225 per day. The total cost will depend on how long you need the rental, as well as which days of the week you’re renting. Local market conditions may also significantly increase (or decrease) this cost. The capacity of the forklift also dictates the price.
A scissor lift doesn’t usually require an operator, but you will have to pay for delivery and pickup. The rental fees depend on the size of the lift and the terrain that it’s suited for. Your location, the rental duration, and each individual rental company may impact the rates, higher or lower.
Average Daily Rental – Scissor Lift
|Rental Fee (Low)||$100|
|Rental Fee (Mid)||$150|
|Rental Fee (High)||$200|
Other considerations for labor costs include the travel time to and from the job site (this isn’t always billed, but it could be if there is significant travel involved to your site), how many people are on the crew, and how long it takes to complete the work. While many companies charge by square footage, crews who specialize in assembling prefab kits sometimes also have an hourly rate. These are sometimes referred to as “gypsy” erectors. Other Factors Impacting Labor Cost
The labor cost can also be impacted by other variables that are out of anyone’s control, either by delaying the build or adding additional expenses:
- Weather conditions
- Availability of hourly labor
- Cost and availability of necessary equipment
- Site conditions (geography, whether the area is level, how accessible, etc.)
- Insurance cost (worker’s comp, general liability)
- Design complexity (multiple stories, mezzanines, roof hips or valleys, exterior stucco, etc. can all increase the complexity of the job and the labor cost)
- Travel time to the job site
- Clearspan building width (buildings over a certain width may have extra safety regulations that slow the job down)
For those who are savvier and like to try their hand at DIY projects, you can potentially build the structure yourself and save $3 to $10 per square foot. For larger buildings, that could add up to significant savings. However, you should keep in mind that people who start construction projects and realize they are unable to complete them on their own usually end up paying more in labor than they would have if they contracted out from the start.
Cost of Installing a Metal Building
If you purchase a metal building kit and choose to have it installed, you will need to plan on delivery and installation fees. You may also need other subcontractors for electrical or HVAC work.
Average Cost to Erect a Metal Building (Prefab Kit)
|Building Size||Square Footage||Cost/Sq. Foot||Total Estimate|
Source: Buildings Guide
Other Less Common Sizes
|Building Size||Square Footage||Installation Cost (Low)||Installation Cost (High)|
In addition to the costs of the base materials and additions, it’s important to consider the advantages of erecting a metal building versus traditional construction using contractors and subcontractors.
Typically, the materials will arrive with some of the assembly already completed, which reduces on-site labor costs. When you order a full kit, everything you need to erect the building will be included and provided by the manufacturer.
Another benefit to consider is the warranty that comes with a steel building kit. Many manufacturers offer great warranties that will offer protection for the structure for many, many years.
Total Cost Estimations for Installing a Metal Building
|Project Component||Price per Square Foot|
|Prefab Metal Kit||$6 - $9|
|Concrete Slab Foundation||$4 - $6|
|Insulation||$2 - $3|
|Framing (w/doors and insulation)||$3 - $6|
|Freight Costs||$100 - $400+|
The Bottom Line on the Cost of Erecting a Metal Building
The cost of erecting a metal building varies significantly based on the size and design of the structure, whether it’s built from scratch or purchased as a kit, and what types of features are added.
Most people spend anywhere from $4,000 for a small metal storage shed up to as much as $120,000 for a commercial building. The shape and design of the building can also have a big impact on the cost.
However, metal buildings can definitely be worth the cost, so it’s important to weigh the benefits of low upkeep and maintenance for a metal structure. Plus, the availability of pre-engineered products makes erecting a metal building much faster and easier than traditional construction.